Broker Spotlight: Bret Snyder, Engel & Völkers

Key Takeaways:

– The person being featured in the article is Bret Snyder, a real estate professional with 24 years of experience.
– He is currently working as a License Partner and handles Operations and Business Development.
– Bret is located in Southwest Montana and works for Engel & Völkers Bozeman / Butte / Livingston & Paradise Valley / Big Sky / Ennis.
– In terms of rankings, his brokerage is fourth in Southwest Montana in terms of dollar per transaction and fifth in the market with a 4.75 percent market share.
– Bret’s team consists of 39 members across their five licensed shops.
– In terms of transaction sides, they had 304 in 2023 and 307 in 2022.
– Their sales volume was $262,674,548 in 2023 and $327,386,208 in 2022.
– Bret emphasizes the importance of hard work, having a mentor, and emulating successful brokers in the industry.
– He advises freshly licensed brokers to not rely solely on their license and to surround themselves with support in areas they may not excel in.
– Bret admires his mentor, John Veytia, his wife and partner, PollyAnna Snyder, and Andrew Ellett for their qualities as leaders and their success in the industry.
– He believes a good leader is someone who serves others, sets an example, and is dedicated to continual learning.
– Bret emphasizes the importance of knowing the contract and having a mentor in the real estate industry.


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Name: Bret Snyder

Title: License Partner / Operations / Business Development

Experience: Twenty-four years experience as a real estate salesperson, broker, marketing director, owner, founder, COO and business development.

Location:  Southwest Montana 

Brokerage name: Engel & Völkers Bozeman / Butte / Livingston & Paradise Valley / Big Sky / Ennis


  • Fourth in Southwest Montana relative to dollar per transaction 
  • Fifth in our market relative to market share at 4.75 percent

Team size: Across our five licensed shops in Bozeman, Big Sky, Livingston, Ennis and Butte, we have a total of 39 team members

Transaction sides: 304 (2023) and 307 (2022)

Sales volume: $262,674,548 (2023) and $327,386,208 (2022)

What do you wish more people knew about working in real estate?

This is a hard business — not complex in a nuclear physics sense, but rather hard in a tenacity, fortitude, and overcoming failures and down-days sense. If you are fortunate enough to latch on to a successful mentor, keep doing what they coach you to do; they are successful for a reason.

There are very few successful brokers: In our MLS, 79 percent of the business is controlled by the top 25 producers, 25 of over 1000 licensees or 2.5 percent of the licensees. You get there by emulating and actually doing what successful brokers do.

What’s your top tip for freshly licensed brokers?

Since you now own your own business — even though it may reside within a brokerage firm, you are still an independent contractor — do not think that just having the license is going to make you successful. This is a business where you can easily spend a dime for every nine cents you make. 

You will probably recognize yourself as good at some aspects of the business, but probably not all of them. Do what you do best and surround yourself with support for the areas you like less or are not as good at handling: A mentor, a brokerage firm that has support staff, peers who are willing to share their successes and failures, and good at-home support that recognizes you may work when other people do not, to name a few. 

Everyone seems to be able to multiply by 2 percent or 3 percent who enter the business, and if they do not recognize the other aspects of brokering, they will fail soon.

Name 3 people you admire

My mentor, John Veytia: John took my wife, PollyAnna, and me on in 2000 when he did not have to. I have a few funny stories about this, and in the end, he shaped our characteristics in the industry, our potential for success, and taught us how real estate should be worked (in our eyes).  Everyone should have a mentor.

My wife and partner, PollyAnna Snyder: Her ability to know people, know the contract, qualify needs, and subtly help and direct clients is simply amazing. She is so very “gray” and that lends itself to being flexible on behalf of her clients and peers. 

I do not know if there is a more liked and respected broker in our market. She is both a “client’s broker” and a “broker’s broker,” just an amazing trait and skill.

Andrew Ellett: He shows me by example how to be a good servant and has taken a neighboring Engel & Völkers franchise to new heights based on good business practices, caring for his advisers (good servitude), and being open to new ideas and learning. 

He is an excellent husband and father as well, and these are things we promote within our organization; your family are the most important people in your lives.

What makes a good leader?

The ability to be a servant and at the same time set an example which includes strength, tenacity, fortitude and openness to learning.

The ability to admit they are wrong and to move away from a course that is detrimental to the transaction, team, firm or brand.

A dedication to continual learning. The landscape of most business, and definitely the landscape of the real estate industry, is ever-changing. A good leader will keep up with these changes and learn about the “why” of any change and then create scenarios that adapt and adjust.

Like a good hitter or pitcher in baseball, we must adjust to our deficiencies and then practice new applications in order to lead successfully.

What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?

The contract! I coached baseball for more than 30 years and I knew the rule book inside and out. I can tell you, that basic quality won many, many games and days for my teams. 

Nowadays, there are so many brokers and agents who don’t know their contract well and that hurts all of us.  Also, it will help your negotiating stance (and therefore your client) if you know the contract better than the other agent.

Other than this, I would say to know how to hook onto a great mentor somewhere. Search one out as if your life and goals depended on it; they very well may do just that.

Know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Broker Spotlight? Nominations, please, to

Email Christy Murdock

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Property Chomp's Take:

Are you receiving Inman's Broker Edge? If not, you should definitely consider subscribing. This newsletter provides valuable insights and information for real estate brokers and professionals. It covers a wide range of topics including market trends, industry news, and tips for success in the competitive real estate market.

One broker who highly recommends subscribing to Inman's Broker Edge is Bret Snyder, a License Partner at Engel & Völkers Bozeman / Butte / Livingston & Paradise Valley / Big Sky / Ennis. With twenty-four years of experience in the industry, Bret understands the challenges and rewards of working in real estate.

According to Bret, working in real estate is not easy. It requires tenacity, fortitude, and the ability to overcome failures and down days. Having a successful mentor can make a huge difference in your career. Learning from someone who has already achieved success can help you navigate the ups and downs of the industry and increase your chances of success.

For freshly licensed brokers, Bret emphasizes the importance of recognizing that owning your own business is not enough to guarantee success. It's essential to focus on your strengths and seek support for areas where you may be less skilled. This could include finding a mentor, joining a brokerage firm with support staff, and surrounding yourself with peers who are willing to share their experiences.

Bret also highlights the fact that only a small percentage of brokers are truly successful. In his MLS, 79 percent of the business is controlled by the top 25 producers, who make up just 2.5 percent of the licensees. To achieve success, it's important to learn from these top producers and emulate their strategies.

When asked about his top three people of admiration, Bret mentions his mentor John Veytia, who shaped his characteristics and potential for success in the industry. He also admires his wife and partner PollyAnna Snyder for her amazing skills in working with clients and peers. Lastly, he mentions Andrew Ellett, who exemplifies good servant leadership and has taken his Engel & Völkers franchise to new heights.

According to Bret, a good leader in the real estate industry is someone who can serve others while also setting an example of strength, tenacity, and openness to learning. They should be dedicated to continual learning and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the industry.

One thing Bret wishes every agent knew is the importance of knowing the contract inside and out. Just like knowing the rule book in baseball helps win games, knowing the contract well can greatly benefit agents and their clients. Additionally, Bret encourages agents to seek out a great mentor who can guide them in their career.

In conclusion, subscribing to Inman's Broker Edge can provide valuable insights and information for real estate brokers and professionals. Learning from experienced industry leaders like Bret Snyder can help increase your chances of success in the competitive real estate market.

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